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Towards the end of our wedding reception, my work friends J&S came up to us in a bit of a panic as they wanted us to open their wedding gift. Unfortunately, all the gifts had been packed off to my parents’ place until we got back from our honeymoon. This turned out to be a bit of a problem. J&S wanted us to open their gift before we left as it wouldn’t work after we got back. Intrigued, I got my mum to fossick around for a gift of the description we were given and to bring it to us at Christmas lunch. All was quickly revealed – J&S’s gift was a quest. The creation of a memory.

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We were of course to go off in search of the Love Bridge and place our own lock on it for our love. I was floored by such a gift – what a really great idea! We headed off and I think (as judging by how tired I look in the photo below) on the first day to make sure that we definitely got this done.

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I’d brought more than a few guide books with me on our trip. I might have been a bit excited to be returning to Paris. But what turned out to be the best buy was  a set of cards of walking tours of Paris. There were 50 in the pack and you could just pick one out at random or one with something you wanted to definitely see on the route or in the area you were interested in. C took to these, which in retrospect I should have realised would be right up his alley. He really enjoyed making sure we followed the tour and did all the stops etc. I really enjoyed the extra little things you ended up seeing on the way – stopping for the best hot chocolate in Paris, seeing significant landmarks or points of interest that are off the standard tourist grid. I ended up seeing a lot more of Paris than I would have on my own and I also saw a lot more cool stuff than I would have thought of looking for. And … bonus was lots less crowds most of the time.

Here’s C checking we’re still on route:
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And here we’ve just added our lock to the bridge – and thrown the key into the Seine, which the greenie in me cringed at but the superstitious OCD side did anyway – and C is taking data point photos so we can come back and look for it another trip.

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photo 2My year started in Paris, and that is a pretty darn fine way to start a year. To back up a smidge, we got married and then stayed around at home a couple of days for Christmas. Some of C’s family had come over for our wedding and were staying for Christmas so we did too. We moved up to the CBD and stayed an extra night or two at a hotel, bumming around the city and generally trying to destress after the excitement of getting married and also you know, process the whole WE GOT MARRIED concept. Christmas lunch was pretty laid back but it was really nice to hang out with our parents and some family and do that all post the whole wedding thing. Jewish tradition has people entertain a married couple for 7 nights after their wedding and welcome them into the community as a couple/family and this felt like a nice nod to that.

And then we headed off to Paris. It was my second trip to this city I love and last time I was there, I’d really wanted to share it with someone, and to be there in love. That’s the cliche after all. I’d read all the stupid bridal mags while planning our wedding, cause again, cliche, and gleaned that the Maldives is where everyone is honeymooning at the moment. I spent a day or two drooling over the beautiful white beaches and blue blue ocean and sky and thought about the lazying about by the pool and hang gliding and then I remembered this was US I was planning a trip for and unless there was wifi by those palm trees, we were gonna be dead bored. I knew I was quitting my day job in 2013 and that this could be the last holiday hurrah for me for some time and I’m not sure when C had last had a proper holiday so … Paris it was! I managed to get a great deal on Singapore Airlines via a travel agent and the flights to Paris were really very pleasant (not so much on the way home but oh well). I sort of had the travel agent plan the trip for us cause I had a lot of other things on. Some things worked great, others not. But she convinced me to book in three different hotels in two different quarters and a decadent couple of nights out of Paris. And I think that was definitely a fab idea I wasn’t sure how it would go moving so many times in about 10 days but it worked out fine.

photo 1We arrived at about 6.30am on a very dreary morning and headed to our hotel in Montmartre (or thereabouts). This hotel was a lot of fun – Secret de Paris – on a corner of the street and lit up in purple lights, each room was themed to make you feel like you were sleeping in an iconic structure of Paris. It sounds cheesy but it’s French and they pulled it off! We got the Eiffel Tower room (that’s my pillow marring the decor of the room. And the speccy lighting which again, was more atmospheric and less cheesy in real life) and were told we could request to move to any of the other rooms at any time if we wanted to try out a different room. At the time, we were so jetlagged and coming down off the wedding high that we couldn’t be bothered – we did a quick touristing the first morning we arrived and then slept for most of the rest of the day. And after that, we were either sleeping or out and about and packing up to move just seemed like too much effort. Now, I wish we had tried other rooms out, especially cause ours didn’t have a spa bath. Also, a nicely confronting moment after you just got married, our bathroom was encased in glass. So – bedroom, and then the toilet, basin and shower to the side and sectioned off with see through glass. Bit personal.

photo 4We did a lot of recuperation – a lot of napping, I watched a lot of TV (I watched the entire series of The Closer whilst away, cause I don’t nap!). We also ate a lot of croissants – a delicious bakery was on the corner diagonal to our hotel. I think I might have rushed out there as soon as we’d checked and taken our bags to the room to get an escargot and OMG, baked goods are never as good as they are in France. I’m ruined for croissants now because they just don’t come anywhere close to as delicious. Also the Hot Chocolate – I drank a lot of it cause I had a Crohn’s flare up the whole time trip  (started in the lead up to the wedding in about November and went through into my pregnancy). I dunno how they make hot chocolate in France but OMG it’s fabulous.

Here’s a pic from the breakfast room. Sumptuous chairs, they also had a lot of loveseats so you could sit next to your lover and whisper secrets (of course!) in their ear. We though that was a bit too corny for us!

 

 



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May 18   Paris snaps

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It’s taken me this long to blog about our trip at new year’s to Paris. I think partly it’s been because there’s been a horrible delay in our wedding photos which got me down about thinking about the whole thing. And also partly because it felt so private. But, you know, with distance and time and all that … :)

At our wedding reception, a friend of mine wanted us to open their gift. Alas, all the gifts had already been packed away and were en route to my parents’ and they were quite alarmed. “Promise me, you’ll open it before you leave!” she said desperately. “The present will be meaningless if you wait til you get home.” My parents managed to bring two potential present candidates when we met up with them on Christmas Day and we opened the wrong one first! But when we opened their present, it was really clear what she meant!

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Instructions – that they had given us a gift of memory – what a fantastic idea! We were to head to the bridge as outlined in her note and then place the lock enclosed on the bridge to symbolise our enduring passion and then toss the keys into the river below.

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Engraved on one side are our names and on the other, our wedding date. We both loved the idea and also the sense of mission about it. I think we decided it would be the first thing we would do in Paris, it had such a sense of urgency about it and set of tasks and would help us settle into the city and get our bearings before we figured out what else we wanted to do.

We headed off, jetlagged into the cold Parisian day. Stopping, of course, past the first patisserie we saw – on the corner opposite our hotel – and ate what I think will always be the best pastry of my life.

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One of the really fun ideas that worked out well was I bought a bunch of  walking tours of Paris on cards – I think there were 50 different ones. And we pulled out the one that went past the bridge we were to visit and headed out and did that. This photo is of C checking the card for directions! They were so much fun – really appealled to the gamer in C and I got to see lots of out of the way things that I never would have found on my own. The cards also pointed out important things like which cafes and icecreameries and famous patisseries to stop past on the way to things :)

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And voila! Here I am on the bridge. Note my tourist sneakers! Notre Dame is just in front of me and to the right. And all the shiny things behind me are locks on the bridge. I dunno. I was kinda torn on this whole thing, en masse, does it ruin the bridge or does it make it into a contemporary living and breathing part of the city? I tried not to think about the pollution of all those rusting keys in the river bed below.

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Proof that we succeeded in our mission.

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And just one of the reasons I love him – taking some pictures for the coordinates of where we placed our lock so we can come back and find it again later. xx



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